Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2126 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is where Emerson, Lake & Palmer went over the top! It's pretty clear that these guys were suffering while recording Brain Salad Surgery and it really showed in their arrangements and conceptual themes. Just look at the rehearsing video of Karn Evil 9 on YouTube and you'll see what I mean!

After the band released their first consistent studio album in the shape of Trilogy, they swiftly returned to the mixed bag format that was so prominent on Tarkus. Unfortunately Brain Salad Surgery doesn't have a suite that is worthy to be compared with Tarkus, but allow me talk about the album in its chronological order. First off, we get two very pleasant adaptations of classical pieces among which Toccata is arguably the most well recognized thanks to its breathtaking performance on Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends. The studio version feels a bit stale in comparison and just doesn't reach the magnitude that I expect of it.

Songs like Still... You Turn Me On and Benny The Bouncer sound like what we've come to expect from ELP albums since both of their two previous releases also featured at least one joke tune and the obligatory Greg Lake ballad. These two performances are easily the bleakest of the bunch and I could have easily done without them. As for Karn Evil 9, I always found it too long and pretentious. Why not shorten it and release a side long epic, it worked for Tarkus so why not here? There is a very good reason behind the fact that most progressive rock epics are around 20 minutes long and this performance could have easily been trimmed down to that format. All this band needed to do was to let go of their egos and trim down all of the sections and, if you ask me, especially Keith Emerson's excessive performance on 2nd Impression.

Even though most fans consider the two Works albums to be the first signs of fatigue in ELP's discography, I never needed to look further than this album to spot some serious flaws.

**** star songs: Jerusalem (2:44) Toccata (7:23) Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 1) (8:44) Karn Evil 9 (3rd Impression) (9:03)

*** star songs: Still... You Turn Me On (2:53) Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 2) (4:47)

** star songs: Benny The Bouncer (2:21) Karn Evil 9 (2nd Impression) (7:07)

Rune2000 | 2/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this EMERSON LAKE & PALMER review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.